Cheers! Downtown Issaquah wine celebration returns

January 29, 2013

Revelers can sip, snack and shop as the Downtown Issaquah Wine Walk series returns.

The popular winter and springtime event launched last February to attract people to downtown merchants even as the weather turns gray and soggy. Organized by the Downtown Issaquah Association, merchants host musicians, and offer sips from Washington vintners and hors d’oeuvres, during the monthly event that launches Feb. 1.

Though the event is designed to appeal to oenophiles — the 1-ounce wine pours remain limited to the 21-and-older crowd — creativity is showcased in arts-focused downtown, too. Highlights at the opening event include demonstrations by master glass blower Lenoard Whitfield at artbyfire and artEAST’s latest exhibit, “Stitch,” at UP Front Gallery.

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Issaquah police crack down on liquor sales to minors

January 17, 2012

Issaquah police and the Washington State Liquor Control Board joined forces late last month to crack down on businesses serving alcohol to minors.

Officers cited six people for furnishing liquor to minors during the Dec. 21 operation. The crackdown encompassed businesses throughout Issaquah.

Such enforcement is part of the routine compliance checks conducted by the liquor board and law enforcement agencies.

“Enforcement of all of the liquor laws — not just these — are important,” Police Chief Paul Ayers said. “They’re there for the purpose of making sure that a person can go into a bar and have a drink if they want, but that they’re not driving after being overserved or that they’re not underage and having alcohol. It’s just important that we enforce all of those laws.”

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Sunset Alehouse brews up a fine menu selection

August 2, 2011

Sunset Alehouse’s The National Champ is an eating challenge featuring nine 1/3-pound patties and nine slices of cheese. File

The last time a group of us dined at the Sunset Alehouse, we didn’t go to enjoy the food so much as endure it.

You see, its menu sports an eating challenge — The National Champ — which features nine 1/3-pound beef patties and nine slices of cheddar cheese between two buns. As delectable as two-thirds of a pound of Nebraska beef per person was, we decided this go-around to give the rest of the wide-ranging menu a sampling.

Opened by the owners of JaK’s Grill across the street, they’d like you to think of Sunset Alehouse as a more casual version of the steakhouse.

Bar food this is not.

The menu has a wide selection of appetizers, soups and salads, burgers and hot sandwiches, and specialty items.

From the hot sandwiches section, we ordered the Italian chicken sandwich. Sunset takes the best of an Italian meal — grilled chicken breast, mozzarella, tomato, pesto mayo and a balsamic reduction — and puts it all into one convenient bite between a toasted baguette.

It’s always refreshing when a sandwich holds up to that many ingredients, as the baguette held its crunch from first bite to last.

While the sandwich came with fries this time, it’s nice to have a selection of alternatives, including spicy Baja slaw, Italian pasta salad, or chips and salsa.

In the mood for a good hot dog, I spotted on the menu the Baja Dog, a.k.a. The Uncle Geno.

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Fundraiser is rockin’ and rollin’ for barber’s colon

April 26, 2011

Mark Ashbaugh has cut, trimmed, curled, straightened and styled hair in Issaquah for almost two decades.

Mark Ashbaugh chats with client Allison Smith during her hair-styling appointment. Several businesses and friends are hosting a benefit for Ashbaugh, who just had two surgeries on his colon. By Laura Geggel

After two surgeries in the hospital, his family and friends are asking the community to give back by helping him at a benefit called Rockin’ and Rollin’ for Mark’s Colon.

Since they started the Front Street Salon in 2000, Ashbaugh and his business partner Danielle Abker have amassed more than 600 clients.

Customers call his humor “edgy” and “very funny.”

“People who know him love him,” friend and customer Clinton Fink said. “There will be a family of four and they’ll all be waiting to get their hair cut.”

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Truck topples downtown traffic signal

December 28, 2010

City maintenance workers survey the damage after a tractor-trailer toppled a pole and traffic signal at the corner of Front Street and Sunset Way on Dec. 22. By Tim Pfarr

Motorists and bus riders faced a headache Dec. 22, after a tractor-trailer toppled the traffic signal and pole on the northeastern corner of the Front Street and Sunset Way intersection.

The accident led city officials to close northbound traffic on Front Street and detour drivers to alternate routes. The crash also prompted King County Metro Transit to reroute buses through the affected area for much of the day.

City crews also deployed signs throughout Issaquah to alert drivers to potential problems.

The accident occurred at about 6:30 a.m. Dec. 22. The driver fled the scene and the Issaquah Police Department later arrested the man for fleeing the scene. Read more

Truck topples downtown traffic signal at Front Street

December 22, 2010

Debris left from a fallen light pole litters the corner as police direct traffic away from the intersection of Front Street and Sunset Way. Photo by Tim Pfarr

UPDATED — 10:30 a.m. Dec. 22, 2010

A large truck knocked down the traffic signal and pole on the southeastern corner of the Front Street and Sunset Way intersection at about 6:30 a.m. Wednesday.

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Music on the Streets returns with variety of acts

June 29, 2010

Issaquah’s best-kept secret is back.

Polly Blomster plays her tambourine while performing ‘Folsom Prison Blues’ June 26 with the Blues Studebakers, at the Front Street and Sunset Way pedestrian park during the first week this summer’s Music on the Streets schedule. By Greg Farrar

Music on the Streets, commonly known as MOTS, is coming to Issaquah for the fourth year in a row.

An offshoot of ArtWalk, a local success for the past eight years, MOTS is a fun, cultural live music event designed to draw people to downtown Issaquah.

This summer it will take over Front Street from Pedestrian Park, between JaK’s Grill and Mandarin Garden restaurant, to Stage 195, 195th Front St. N., in front of Stella and artbyfire.

From June 24 until Sept. 24, nearly 50 live music acts will perform every Thursday, Friday and Saturday evening. Every event is free to the public.

The idea was born from the huge popularity of musical acts that performed at ArtWalk. This year, some of the artists performing at MOTS will also perform at ArtWalk.

“It helps keep the area alive,” Events Director Michael Johnson said. “It’s fun and it brings a vibe and atmosphere to Issaquah.”

All of the music is kid friendly, making the mini concerts perfect events to attend as a family.

Unlike other summer concerts, MOTS is ideal for passers-by to come and go as they please. Read more

New design envisioned for downtown park

March 16, 2010

Issaquah landscape architect Dar Webb re-envisioned Pedestrian Park. Downtown boosters hope the proposal launches a discussion about the future of the park. Contributed

Advocates for downtown Issaquah want to transform the space between Jak’s Grill and Mandarin Garden from a blah concrete expanse into a vibrant park for pedestrians, musicians and festival vendors.

Michael Johnson, events director for the DownTown Issaquah Association, asked Dar Webb, a landscape architect and a downtown tenant, to re-envision the space known as Pedestrian Park. Webb presented a park lined with trees, planters and public art.

“That place would be unbelievably packed if we opened it up like this,” Johnson said.

The proposal received a warm reception from the city Arts Commission when Johnson and Webb presented renderings and discussed the idea March 8. However, any proposal to remake the park must go through the public process for all city projects.

The proposal presented last week merely shows how Pedestrian Park could be improved. Any eventual upgrades to the park will look different from the renderings Webb prepared.

Johnson said he hopes the proposal will encourage business owners, city officials and residents to re-envision the space. Read more